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The sunshine vitamin ( vitamin D3 ) plays a crucial role in women’s health. It is synthesized in skin under ultra - violet exposure. This biosynthesis will be inadequate in poor dietary intake or exposure to sunlight. Maintaining healthy bones is crucial for overall well-being and quality of life. A balanced and nutritious diet plays a key role in supporting bone health. Here are some important factors to consider when it comes to diet and bone health:

  •  Deficiency occurs due to fat malabsorption, anticonvulsant use , Chronic Kidney disease , obesity , dark skinned people , people from areas with thicker ozone layer , women using  sun-screen lotions & people from urban areas .

  • Rich sources of vitamin - D→ cod liver oil , salmon and sardines , fortified  milk , egg , fortified yoghurt , fortified soy products , mushrooms , oysters , fortified cereals .

  • Exposure → Minimum - 400 IU ( 10 ng ) 

                           →  Maximum - 2,000 IU    

                           →RAD  for pregnant women - 200 IU/day .

  • Vitamin - D status indicator in body - serum concentration of 25 - hydroxyvitamin -D as it is major circulating form of vitamin in body .

  • Traditional role of calcium in body - calcium metabolism and bone mineral metabolism . It works with parathyroid hormones , acts on kidneys , bone , intestine and influence gene expression , maintains  calcium and phosphorous homeostasis .

  • Emerging roles of vitamin - D→

→ Cell differentiation , proliferation and immune function .

→ Prevention/ treatment of some forms of cancer , osteoporosis , rheumatoid arthritis multiple sclerosis , hypertension , cardiovascular disease , obesity , psoriasis , and psychiatric diseases 

  • Role of Vitamin - D in pregnancy → 

With pregnancy there can be calcium loss due to foetal demands  and increased urinary calcium excretion rate of vitamin - D deficiency  are more with women with darker pigmentation and women who have limited access to sunlight or outdoor activity. 

Type of clothing , cultural practices , thorough use of sunscreen.

Women including pregnant women with BMI > 30 are at increased risk of vitamin -D deficiency due to obesity .

Pregnant women with serum level of 25-OH vit.-D<75 nmol/2 are considered vit.-D deficient and should receive higher dose upto 1000 IU.

If this higher dose didnot work then they should be checked for celiac disease.

Infants bone to vitamin - D deficient mothers will be vitamin - D deficient & require supplementation in form of cholecalciferol bolus (50,000IU) to prevent rickets .



The Role of Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium is the most vital mineral for bone health followed by phosphorus. Our bodies cannot produce calcium, so it must be obtained through our diet or supplements. Regular intake of calcium-rich foods is essential to prevent calcium deficiency, which can lead to weak and brittle bones(osteoporosis).

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium. It helps the body utilise calcium effectively and maintain strong bones and muscles. Sun exposure and certain foods, such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, are good sources of vitamin D.

→ Increased vitamin - D levels improve muscle performance and thus reduce muscle weakness .

→ Skin exposure to vr-rays has been linked with lower blood pressure.

→ Multiple sclerosis prevalent in temperate  climates is associated with lower serum vitamin - D levels and vitamin - D supplementation may have a preventive role in multiple sclerosis .

→ The higher the vitamin - D level , lower the risk of cancer .

→ Vitamin - D act as immunosuppressant in rheumatoid arthritis .

→ Tuberculosis is associated with lower vitamin - D levels.

→ Social vulnerability of fairer sex is associated with lower vitamin - D levels .  



Factors that Affect Bone Health

1.Genetics: Heredity plays a significant role in bone growth and development. Some genes are responsible for bone production in the body, and understanding your genetic potential can help in maintaining bones.

2.Hormones: Growth hormone and thyroxine majorly contribute to bone formation and it's maintenance. Hormonal imbalances, especially during puberty, affect bone growth.So It becomes validly essential to ensure optimal hormone levels for healthy bone development.

3.Physical Exercises: Regular exercise is as important as a healthy diet for maintaining strong bones. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, running, and strength training, help stimulate bone growth and increase bone density. Active participation in physical activities from a young age is recommended for maximum peak bone mass.

4.Nutrition: Good nutrition provides the body with the necessary nutrients for bone development and regeneration. Calcium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin C are all essential elements for bone health. Calcium, in particular, is crucial for maintaining bone structure and strength.

A Healthy Diet for Strong Bones

For maintaining good bone health one should include the following in their diet:

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    Calcium-rich foods: Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, and tofu

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     Vitamin D sources: Get exposure to sunlight and consume foods rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products.

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    Protein: Include lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts in your diet to provide the building blocks for bone formation.

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    Fruits and vegetables: These provide essential vitamins and minerals that support overall bone health.

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    Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine intake, as they can have a negative impact on bone health.Remember to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine your specific dietary needs for optimal bone health.